The Ottawa Senators of last season had no shortage of reasons to give up and try again in 2013-14.
The Sens, you’ll recall, were absolutely devastated by injuries to key players, including Jason Spezza, Erik Karlsson, Milan Michalek, and Craig Anderson. But they didn’t give up; in fact, they thrived, finishing seventh in the Eastern Conference with a 25-17-6 record.
Flash forward to the present and the Sens are relatively healthy. What they’re not, however, is a winning hockey team, with a record of 8-8-4 after 20 games. On Sunday, they lost, 4-1, at home to Columbus.
So, what gives?
“We can’t start games, to begin with,” Senators GM Bryan Murray told ESPN.com Monday. “We don’t move the puck nearly as well as I thought we did last year. We’re not playing with the same energy. We played hard every night last year. We’ve kind of lost that identity right now.”
Defensively is where the Sens have had their biggest issues. Their goals-against average sits at 2.95, 23rd overall. Last season, it was 2.08, second overall. A combination of too many shots allowed and spotty goaltending from starter Craig Anderson helps explain the difference this season.
The Sens are in Philadelphia to play the Flyers tonight. They host Minnesota tomorrow.